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Disability Justice and Live Music

storeylouise's picture

Live music might be the thing I long for most in during the pandemic. It's not on my mind as daily as the desire to greet friends with hugs or leave my house for reasons other than going to work or the grocery store or doing something involving my computer. I saw this Vice article on trending of Reddit talking with disabled musicians and music fans about how concert organizers have the opportunity to make events more accessibly, especially given the covid-hiatus and the accomodations like social distancing and ventilation required now that things are opening up again. One musician and teacher, Yoxon, recalls going to a show where the venue said there would be wheel-accessible entrance and bathroom but when neither were she said "I don't really enjoy going to new places, because this kind of garbage happens all the time." Going to new places- especially for music reasons- is a huge attraction to my excitment for live music. Different sites, new strangers and unfamiliar sweaty bodies all soaking in or jamming out to the same piano solo- this is what I love most about live music, it's effectively affiliate. And yet access to live music for people with disabilites is either last on a list of things organizers have to do or not considered at all. Disabled activists have been putting in the work to change this; Cassie Wilson, a wheelchair user, founded an organization 'Half/Access' to promote accessibility in live music. The website uses crowsourced data of detailed descriptions of venues and how or less accomodating they are. Wilson states that "[Half/Access] primary goal is just ot get venues being transparents about what accessibility and safety is like in their spaces... I hope they talk with disabled people and improve more than just putting a chair at the back of a crowded GA room."Many people are calling for livestreams that were introduced because of the pandemic to continue, although according to the article many major in-person tours that have been announced for this summer and fall so far don't include streaming the events.

Here is Wilson's website- it's really cool, you can search by location/venure and it gives you info on parking, stairs, designated seating, restroom reviews, lighting safety warnings, accommodations for sign interpretation/subtitles, and more!

Vice article: 

Reddit thread :